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Automation meets craftsmanship

04 March 2019

Mitsubishi Electric halves Denby Pottery's clay manufacturing times and reduces lost production with a new automation system.

Although often perceived as a threat to traditional industries, automation can actually empower artisans to have greater control over skilled manufacturing processes and enable improved product quality. When Denby Pottery, a premier producer of handcrafted tableware, looked at refurbishing its process control systems it turned to Mitsubishi Electric's distributor BPX to provide a reliable and well-connected solution to efficiently monitor, control and improve their clay production line. Now successfully implemented, Mitsubishi Electric's solution has reduced downtime and improved the quality of their customer's clay processing.

Denby Pottery has been designing and crafting tableware, cookware and serveware for over 200 years using clay as its starting substance. Clay is a raw material that can vary greatly from one batch to another. It therefore requires the plant operators to have a comprehensive understanding of the clay's physicochemical properties to accurately control the process parameters and obtain a high-quality output.

To remain competitive and maintain the quality of the clay consistency, Denby Pottery decided to update its obsolete ISN York management system previously in place to control the processing of the clay. As Steven Sands, Denby Pottery's Technical Engineering Project Manager, explained: "The control system was prone to regular failure and running on an outdated platform that had no compatibility with current control elements. In addition, several replacement parts for this solution needed to be custom made, as they were no longer available off the shelf. Therefore, the system was proving increasingly costly and time-consuming to maintain."

Read the full article in the March issue of DPA

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